Narrative Writing Tips (with Prompts, Samples & Stimulus) to ACE Your NAPLAN, Scholarship or Selective Entry Writing Test

Good written expression is not giftedness; it’s a skill you can improve for your scholarship, selective school or NAPLAN test. All you need is a bit of patience, writing practice, and our five powerful tips that will help you do your best on a scholarship or selective school exam.

Read on for the most valuable piece of advice on acing the written expression test for narrative writing and put your knowledge to test with exam-like creative writing prompts.


#1 Reason Students Fail Their Written Expression Test (And What It Takes To Ace It)

In case you're reading this and thinking: "Yeah, yeah… writing is important. But I'm doing fine," you might be right.

Or…

You might be underestimating the tough requirements of written expression for selective schools, scholarships and NAPLAN, making one of the biggest mistakes that will cost you valuable opportunities.

You see, many students think that doing well in school sets them up for success in a competitive exam.

But this couldn't be more wrong!

Why?

Because there's a big difference between writing for school and writing for exam success.

Let me explain.

All competitive exams like ACER, Edutest, Academic Assessment Services or the Victorian selective schools test, are designed to weed out average applicants and spot high achievers. Assessment exams like NAPLAN also group students in bands from below average to above average. If you want to ace your written expression test, it's not enough to show off a rich vocabulary and perfect grammar (which get you high scores at school).

To truly stand out from the crowd, you'll also have to demonstrate:

  • Ability to work under pressure. Everyone can create an A+ story when they have all the time in the world. Depending on your exam, you might have only 20-40 minutes to craft a piece. This means you need to know what to do without wasting precious seconds thinking about how to start a story, how much to write, etc. In short, you need a strategy – like the one we teach our students in our narrative writing course.
  • Creativity. Two things distinguish an “OK” essay from a great one – the imaginative point of view/storyline and accurate use of expressive devices. You can easily train these skills by doing lots of reading and by modeling after top-notch essays. For example, we encourage students to use our Exam Success sample essays library to discover creative pieces that scored well and borrow the techniques and ideas for their writing practice tests.
  • Thoughtfulness. This is your ability to 1) come up with worthy writing ideas quickly; 2) make your story flow; 3) use words to show emotions and create the atmosphere. You can develop thoughtfulness through learning specific writing techniques and practicing writing. You can easily set up a regular writing routine with Exam Success writing prompts library that contains 290+ written expression topics, some of which are very similar to the questions from Edutest/Acer scholarship exams and selective writing tests.

What Are Common Writing Topics In A Written Expression Test For Selective Schools, Scholarships and NAPLAN?

The writing prompts for a narrative/creative piece often come in the form of a worded statement that asks you to write about your life experiences: the events that happened to you, people you’ve met, or places you’ve visited.

Sometimes, the writing prompt comes in the form of a picture/image or as a combination of both a visual prompt and a text.

To give you a general idea of what to expect, here are some sample scholarship and selective test writing topics for grade 7 and grade 9:

  • Write a creative piece to the following prompt: When I helped someone
  • Write a creative piece to the following prompt: The new student
  • Combine the three elements to create a story - a computer, a mouse and a tree.
  • Write a creative piece to the following combined word and image prompt: A window to the other side.
  • Write a narrative based on the following image prompt.
  • Write a creative piece to the following combined word and image prompt: A window to the other side.



3 Powerful Narrative Writing Tips That Will Boost Your Score

Writing for exam success doesn’t have to be daunting.

Follow these 3 actionable tips below, and you’ll breeze through your written expression test and improve your essay score. Each tip is illustrated by a sample essay written by a real student to improve your understanding.

Tip #1 - Stick to the Genre

No matter how great your grammar is or how confident you are with stylistic devices, the examiner will mark your essay down if your piece doesn't correspond to the task.

If the writing prompt in your selective or scholarship test requires you to write a narrative/creative piece, it must include:

  • A clear plot with all the components of a story – engaging introduction, a lead-up to the main event, the main event, resolution.
  • One or more characters
  • An underlying idea - you should be able to summarise your essay in one sentence.

Remember that with narrative writing, you don't need to take a stand or develop a concept - you are required to tell a story.

Task 1

Take a look at the writing prompt below and decide whether the sample essay answers the task. When you've got the answer, see the video feedback from our writing expert below.

(Source: Exam Success)

Suggested solution (Video Feedback)





Tip #2 - Never Skip Planning

A good plan is a crucial part of writing a winning narrative piece in a short timeframe. It will help you map out your essay and stay on track as you write out the whole piece.

Your plan should be short and sweet. Ideally, you’d want to write just one summarising sentence for each paragraph of the story.

Feeling stuck? One trick we share with our students is to try writing your plan backwards. Start from the last paragraph that will summarise how the story would end and move to the beginning of your story.

Task 2

Look at the writing prompt below again and try to plan out your story. Once you're done, check out a plan written by one of our students.

Suggested solution

(Source: Exam Success)

Tip #3 - Use KISS Formula (Keep It Super Simple)

The exam is not the place to create long masterpieces with complex plots and multiple characters. There’s no time for that!

Simplicity is your best friend.

Apply the KISS formula to almost everything in your narrative:

  • Storyline – choose easy plots, ideally write about the event in your life you can relate to;
  • Characters – stick to one-two characters maximum without overthinking them;
  • Structure – focus on developing only one main event;
  • Language – avoid big and flowery words, especially if you don’t know how to spell them or in what context to use them.
Task 3

Look at the writing prompt below and think about how you would simplify the given sample essay. Once you're done, watch the suggestions from our writing expert.

(Source: Exam Success

Suggested solution (Video Feedback)



Want to write stories that will win you scholarships and selective school entry?

You can go the trial-and-error path and miss out on amazing opportunities, or you can let our top writing experts reveal all the secrets to crafting an essay the exam assessors will love.

With our comprehensive narrative writing course and our monthly writing clubs, writing has never been easier!

How to approach a writing prompt, where to get great ideas from, what to do first… - with our guidance, you'll get a simple and actionable roadmap to crafting a powerful narrative from scratch.

Most importantly, you'll have plenty of writing practice from day one.

See what's available to help you ACE your writing test


Practice Writing Package 3 (Essays only)

For students who want to improve their writing skills. Write essays and get scoring & feedback from experts. In this package, your child will access:

The cycle for this writing club is 31 days.

Note well that this plan does not include tutor-led writing club sessions or masterclass videos. The 5 individual and personalised scoring & video feedback is available only while your writing club is active and expire (do not carry over) once your writing club subscription ends.

What happens after you purchase?

First, check your email for log in details. We’ll get in touch with you to complete your exam details and set up your writing club dashboard with prompts that are suitable for your exam. Once your writing club has been activated, you’ll complete an essay and request feedback. When you get your feedback, we'll add masterclass videos to address the weaknesses identified. And then, you continue on writing the next prompt, incorporating all the learning you’ve gained to improve your score each time!

$AU137.50
The price above is inclusive of 10% GST. If you are purchasing for use outside of Australia, at checkout, you'll be charged the amount without GST
$AU137.50 per cycle
Year 7 Entry - Premium Writing Tutoring Plan

We are now accepting enrolments only for the cycle starting 7 November 2021 for the 5:45pm session time (3:15pm & 4:30pm sessions filled already) All session times quoted in Melb/Syd time.

If you do want writing tutoring earlier than this, you will be able to book Ella directly via the tutor bookings page for 1-1 tutoring. She delivers the writing club sessions and is available for writing tutoring.

See your child’s writing truly improve and their confidence soar! In this must-have plan, your child will meet weekly in a small group of only 4 online to practice their writing (persuasive & narrative) and get live feedback with an expert. They’ll get:

  • 5 x 60-minute sessions with our expert tutors (each week from stated starting time).
  • 8 masterclass videos – to further improve their writing skills.
  • All sessions are recorded for your peace of mind. Please note that the recording is not available due to legal reasons.

Plus - there’s also homework in the form of:

In these sessions, you’ll be secure in knowing that your child is learning from the best. Our expert tutors have achieved amazing awards such as university scholarships, rotary award for English and one is a practicing medical doctor (usually ATAR 99+ to be admitted).

If your child is in Grade 5 - 6, then we welcome them to join. To join these sessions, you’ll need a headset (or headphones with a microphone), a computer (not tablet) and be able to commit to the set time each week for 5 weeks. Due to the way sessions are organised, classes cannot be rescheduled and any no shows are forfeited sessions. We reserve the right to cancel classes if there is a reason to and in such a case, a full refund would be offered.

4 spots available only in this premium writing club plan that goes for 5 weeks, commencing on the stated date. Join now to avoid disappointment.

$AU272.80
The price above is inclusive of 10% GST. If you are purchasing for use outside of Australia, at checkout, you'll be charged the amount without GST
$AU272.80 per cycle
Practice Writing Package 2 (Essays + Videos)

Want to know if your child's writing will pass or fail? Get expert video feedback on their writing while they learn from masterclass videos.

Give them access to:

The cycle for this writing club is 31 days.

Note well that this plan does not include live online tutor-led writing club sessions

What happens after you purchase?

First, check your email for log in details. We’ll get in touch with you to complete your exam details and set up your writing club dashboard with prompts that are suitable for your exam. Once your writing club has been activated, you’ll complete an essay and request feedback. When you get your feedback, we'll add masterclass videos to address the weaknesses identified. And then, you continue on writing the next prompt, incorporating all the learning you’ve gained to improve your score each time!

$AU129.80
The price above is inclusive of 10% GST. If you are purchasing for use outside of Australia, at checkout, you'll be charged the amount without GST
$AU129.80 per cycle
Expert Video Feedback Package

Want to know if your child's writing will pass or fail? Get expert video feedback on their writing while they learn from masterclass videos.

Your child will be able to request on 5 of their essays:

  • Scoring using our 52-point scoring system that pinpoints 5 areas where they’re losing marks in a scoring panel.
  • Expert video feedback that explains how they can improve on the two major weaknesses in their writing.

You can see an example of scoring and expert video feedback on a real essay here.

In addition, your child will have unlimited access to a library of 96 masterclass videos (viewable online via the website) while their writing club is active. A full listing of available masterclass videos can be found here.

The cycle for this writing club is 31 days.

Note well that this plan does not include live online tutor-led writing club sessions

What happens after you purchase?

First, check your email for log in details. We’ll get in touch with you to complete your exam details and set up your writing club dashboard with prompts that are suitable for your exam. Once your writing club has been activated, you’ll complete an essay and request feedback. When you get your feedback, we'll add masterclass videos to address the weaknesses identified. And then, you continue on writing the next prompt, incorporating all the learning you’ve gained to improve your score each time!

$AU162.80
The price above is inclusive of 10% GST. If you are purchasing for use outside of Australia, at checkout, you'll be charged the amount without GST
$AU162.80 per cycle
Practice Writing Package 1 (Essays + Videos)

Want to know if your child's writing will pass or fail? Get expert video feedback on their writing while they learn from masterclass videos.

Your child gets 240+ minutes of study time to help them ace their exams. Give them access to:

The cycle for this writing club is 31 days.

Note well that this plan does not include live online tutor-led writing club sessions

What happens after you purchase?

First, check your email for log in details. We’ll get in touch with you to complete your exam details and set up your writing club dashboard with prompts that are suitable for your exam. Once your writing club has been activated, you’ll complete an essay and request feedback. When you get your feedback, we'll add masterclass videos to address the weaknesses identified. And then, you continue on writing the next prompt, incorporating all the learning you’ve gained to improve your score each time!

$AU123.20
The price above is inclusive of 10% GST. If you are purchasing for use outside of Australia, at checkout, you'll be charged the amount without GST
$AU123.20 per cycle
Creative Writing Classes - Give Your Child the Chance to Have their Writing Published

NOTE: This program has been deferred to a June 2021 start date.

To help your child build a strong foundation in creative writing, Exam Success has developed an Online Creative Writing Program where your child will develop their creative writing skills.

For NSW Creative Kids Voucher holders special pricing, please go to this page: Creative Writing Classes for NSW Creative Kids Voucher Holders.

In this program, your child will work on developing 1 short creative piece over 5 tutor-led sessions to improve it dramatically through real editing (not just proofreading) and developing an awareness of audience. In between tutor sessions, your child can access online writing masterclass videos to help them further build their skills and our homework (1.5 hours) is completely optional (great for children who do not like homework!)

This program will help your child develop:

  • Creativity and thinking skills
  • A love of writing
  • An important 21st century skill – communication.

It’s important to note that the program doesn’t aim to churn out essay after essay, but rather, by focusing on completing one short essay and dedicating over 5 hours of time in re-working and editing their piece, children work creatively. They learn to think more deeply about writing, not only as a communication tool for themselves, but as a medium of communication between themselves and the world.

An additional benefit is that with online learning you get undisrupted & safe learning. With the outbreak of the global pandemic COVID-19, it’s essential to keep your family as safe as possible. With our program, your child learns from the safety and comfort of your home. No risky virus exposure or disrupted classes. All your child needs to join is reliable internet, a set of headphones with a microphone and a computer.

Please note that this program is a special class (so details about typical writing club classes that can be found on this page do not apply) and full details of this special program, including 2020 timetable can be found here: https://www.examsuccess.com.au/blog/posts/join-exam-success-online-creative-writing-program-and-give-your-child-the-opportunity-to-have-their-writing-published.

To secure your spot for a certain date, make a purchase on this program and we'll be in touch.

$AU172.50
The price above is inclusive of 10% GST. If you are purchasing for use outside of Australia, at checkout, you'll be charged the amount without GST
$AU172.50 per cycle

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